Lucas Moura put on a show as Tottenham Hotspur returned to winning ways after a disastrous week.
Jose Mourinho made a statement with his team selection, dropping the likes of Eric Dier and Gareth Bale following two abysmal defeats in key fixtures.
Spurs first lost the North London derby without putting up much of a fight and then were embarrassingly knocked out of the Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb, who mounted a stunning three-goal comeback in Croatia on Thursday.
But this win over Aston Villa in the Premier League moved them back into European contention and sixth place, and centre to it all was the Brazilian.
Talismanic striker Harry Kane got on the scoresheet once again – taking him to the top of the goalscoring charts – but he also provided a key involvement in their opening goal, finding Moura before he fired across the goal for Carlos Vinicius to tap home.
He will reap the rewards and take much of the plaudits, as he often does, though the £22.5m-rated dynamo was fully in control of this match in an unfamiliar no.10 role.
As per SofaScore, Moura was graded among Spurs’ best performers with a rating of 7.9 – only Tanguy Ndombele got close (7.7).
The 28-year-old attacker was heavily involved in every attack, as seen by the sheer number of touches he had on the ball.
His 85 touches was only bettered by one player, and by one touch too, in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (86). The pair were a good 20 touches ahead of any other Spurs star, so that speaks volumes on his influence in the match.
Similarly, Moura proved to be a major source of creativity, managing four key passes from his 35 successful passing attempts (80% accuracy rate) and five successful dribbles. Both of which will have contributed to Spurs’ attacking returns substantially.
By comparison, the rest of the Spurs squad could only combine for three key passes between them – one each from Giovani Lo Celso, Sergio Reguilon and Kane.
Moura also put in a great shift defensively, and that’s the sort of attitude Mourinho would have been looking for in response to their nightmare of a week.
He won 14 duels from 21 battles, both on the ground and in the air, and even recorded four clearances and one tackle. Joe Rodon, who started at centre-back, didn’t clear the ball from danger as much as Moura whilst only three other players managed more tackles.
The Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick dubbed the £110k-per-week winger his ‘star man’ and added: ‘Easy to see why Mourinho loves him after an excellent display offensively and defensively. Ran tirelessly, with and without the ball and got a superb assist for Vinicius.’
Kane may have bagged the winner, but based on the evidence above, Moura absolutely stole the show at Villa Park.